Rustika Offers a Continental Breakfast All in One Spot

Perhaps you're craving a breakfast taco--because really, when are you not? But your significant other wants pancakes with the works and your mom wants just a bowl of oatmeal and fruit, thank you.

You could drive all over collecting breakfast items to suit each taste. Or you could go to Rustika Café & Bakery, your one stop shop for continental dining. Half restaurant and half bakery filled with examples of elegant wedding cakes and decadent desserts, Rustika is fairly calm and quiet during breakfast on a weekday. It's tucked into a strip center facing I-59--not where you'd expect to find a charming cafe and a multitude of baked goodies.

But enter the small space, and you'll immediately feel like you're in some small-town eatery where everyone moves a little slower, and everything is made from scratch.

When I was there for breakfast recently, a woman with two daughters had to ask why her meal was taking so long (the staff had been busy with a cake delivery), while another woman had to wait an extra 20 minutes for an egg salad sandwich because the kitchen hadn't yet prepared the egg salad for the day. None of the customers seem to mind the slower pace, because they know when they do get their food, it's going to be high quality and delicious.

The breakfast menu is particularly lengthy, including Mexican and Tex-Mex morning standards, as well as omelets, crepes, pancakes, French toast, lox and cream cheese, blintzes, oatmeal and fresh fruit platters. If you want it for breakfast, chances are Rustika has it on the menu or can devise a way to whip it up for you. All of this is, of course, in addition to the bakery cases full of homemade breads and pastries.

The Tex-Mex offerings are pretty straightforward--migas with various add-ons, huevos rancheros, eggs with mole--but they differ from other similar breakfasts thanks to the quality of ingredients used. The black beans served as a side with any order don't taste like they've just been plopped out of a can and reheated. They have a vaguely meaty flavor and aren't plagued by the usual watery pool that accompanies canned black beans. The eggs are all freshly scrambled to order as well. And by freshly scrambled, I mean cracked out of a shell and into the pan, not ladled from an "egg mix."

One of my favorite dishes for breakfast at Rustika is the plate of blintzes. Traditionally, blintzes are like crepes that are stuffed, folded like a burrito and pan fried to get crisp and golden brown on the outside. The blintzes at Rustika aren't pan fried, so they're more like stuffed crepes than true blintzes. Still, the cottage cheese-filled and crème fraîche-topped pancakes served with strawberry and apricot jam are simultaneously refreshing and decadent.

If you're aiming for a lighter breakfast, create your own small omelet or pick a pastry from the case. I've alternately drooled over the cinnamon scones and the fluffy croissants, but somehow I always end up ordering something more complicated off the menu.

Yes, it might take awhile for the prep and cooking, but at Rustika, your continental breakfast will be worth the wait.

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Kaitlin Steinberg